Colombians for the most part like dogs, in particular in Bogota. Of a Sunday you will see dozens of dog owners taking their faithful friends out into the ciclovia, either tethered to bicycles running alongside or just walking them through Bogota’s streets. Every evening on weekdays at the magic hour around dusk you can see the same owners taking their precious pets out to a few scarce patches of grass between the ubiquitous brick apartment blocks so that they can expel their “necesidades” here and not in the home.
And should you be awake early enough you may catch sight of school buses, designed for dogs, transporting these animals out to the countryside for a runabout. And Bogota like any major city is no different, there are also the employed dog-walkers harnessed to half a dozen creatures parading them along the major avenues and boulevards of the city providing these imprisoned animals their much needed exercise.
And go to the Parque Simon Bolivar – Bogota’s lungs – or to El Virrey or to the Parque Nacional and lo and behold it will become clear that the favored name for dogs in Bogota, if not Colombia as a whole, is “Luna”.
Really, there’s probably no correct or completely accurate answer. In a straw poll conducted amongst a few dog walkers this week the answer received was a unanimous: “lack of creativity”.
Certainly the translation really doesn’t do the name Luna any justice at all, unless of course this is Frank Zappa’s dog, which could of course quite legitimately have been called “Moon”, but here in a literary and well educated society there seems to have been no leap of imagination for dog names. However incongruous it may seem, you’ll see a rottweiler named Luna alongside a pomerania of the same name. That’s just the way it is here.
And then there are the different social classes that are clearly identified by size and breed of dog and the park that they frequent. Quite simply put the canines found at the Parque El Virrey (between the Avenida 7 and the Autopista Norte and between Calles 87 and 90) are of a more well-heeled nature than those found for example in southern Bogota’s El Tintal park (close to the barrios of Kennedy, Fontibón and Bosa).
Most dogs in Bogota are for show or for social status and very few, outside of the invasiones (where people displaced by the violence in the countryside have built makeshift home), are kept for guard dog purposes. But, a study of the various Luna or Lunae as perhaps they are correctly referred can grant the visitor quite an impressive insight into the social mobility and wealth of the districts in which they frequent and belong.